I cannot believe we are already into July of 2022. Where has the time gone? Being in Arizona, where none of our children live, got me reminiscing about past summer holidays and events that have taken place in my home.
Over the years I have hosted barbecues and swim parties. Before I married Dennis, I had a great friend in the St. Louis area who had a beautiful pool at her home. She welcomed me and my family to use it. At the time her children were young adults and weren’t coming over as often as she like the pool to be used. Or, maybe that was her excuse to get me to feel comfortable coming often to her pool—she said it would deteriorate if not used. My grandkids learned to swim in her pool. When she passed away a few years ago, my grandkids were even sad because she was so kind and generous to them.
Barbecues and fireworks were the tradition for many years at my home. One year when my oldest granddaughter was about 15 years old, she came to help me prep for the holiday barbecue. She was a great help peeling dozens of eggs for deviled eggs and chopping fruit for fruit salads. I liked getting all the meat cooked ahead of time and in the oven to stay warm before the guest arrive. It was over 100 degrees in the St. Louis area, and with its humidity, it felt like 200 degrees to me. I was cooking (literally and figuratively) over the grill. When finished, I put the pan in the oven and went to the sink to rinse off the barbecue utensils when an arm came around me and before me was an open bottle of ice cold water. I was thrilled that my granddaughter had thought I needed a drink. I commented how sweet it was she delivered a drink so quickly to me knowing I’d be thirsty. She commented she thought I needed it because I smelled so bad! I still have to laugh at that—the girl has always been painfully honest! I took a drink, cleaned the utensils, and proceeded to the shower before the guests arrived.
When I married Dennis, I was fortunate to move to the country where we lived on a piece of property with a small lake and a large swimming pool. Although it was now a 90 minute drive for my family to visit, holidays were special, and everyone loved the amenities.
There were times in both locations we went to the community fireworks displays, and there were times the kids brought their own fireworks to shoot. Independence Day was always a day of celebration.
I’m not sure how many really thought about why we had that day as a holiday. It is an important day. It celebrates the freedom our founding fathers fought desperately for—the freedoms we enjoy today. For some reason, there are celebrities and others this year who said we should not celebrate this holiday. I’m sorry, their ability to protest whatever they want to protest is evidence we should celebrate this holiday.
Now that we are in Arizona, there are no children and grandchildren to show up for the holiday. It would be easy to just have another day like any other. As I looked at the news media on my phone, and saw people were saying not to celebrate this holiday, I decided it was exactly the opposite I wanted to do. I wanted to make our holiday for just the 2 of us special and celebratory because I am grateful for this nation. It is far from perfect, but it is really good. We are a nation “of the people and for the people.”
I chose to have a special day. Dennis suggested we go to the movies. His favorite actors, the minions, (haha!) had a new movie out. We went to a late morning showing.
Before we left I prepped the deviled eggs and fresh fruit salad for our upcoming barbecue of two. When I came home, pork steaks (a St. Louis tradition) were thrown on the grill, and corn on the cob in the pot. I had the red checked tablecloth with the patriotic table runner I made a few weeks earlier on the table with tea lights to represent fireworks. After dinner, I pulled out the ice cream maker and proceeded to make homemade strawberry ice cream served with home baked chocolate chip cookies. It was reminiscent of all my past Independence Day holidays.
We ended the evening watching the movie, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with James Cagney. I had never seen the movie, but read on social media that it was a movie people regularly watched on the 4th of July. Yes, for $2.99, Prime had the movie. It was a fun musical about the life of George M. Cohen, who wrote and performed many patriotic songs. He was given the Congressional Medal of Honor from Franklin Roosevelt for boosting the morale of the military and citizens during war times.
It was a perfect ending to a tiny celebration. Dennis and I both felt like we honored the day, celebrating the blessings the United States of America has given us.